The Medicare OEP (Open Enrollment Period) was just reinstated by Congress and runs from January 1st through March 31st each year.
This was once part of Medicare but was removed when the Affordable Care Act became law. It seems that 1% of brokers in Arkansas were selling MAPD (Medicare Advantage Plans) in November and December and then going back to those clients and selling them a new plan in late March, thus getting two commissions. There were a number of options that could have been used to fix this problem but the Arkansas Senator at the time wanted it stopped so she introduced the legislation that eliminated the open enrollment period for Medicare recipients thus limiting their options.
Working with former Congressman Joe Heck in Nevada for several years, this writer was able to help get the open enrollment period reinstated to start in January of 2019.
Here’s how it works and the benefits for seniors.
Between January 1st and March 31st seniors can:
Change their Medicare Advantage plans or go back to Original Medicare and a drug plan and get a Medicare Supplement (if they qualify medically).
Change your current Medicare Advantage plan to another similar plan.
You cannot change your standalone drug plan
Let’s face it with 18 different Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans available in Nevada, the chances that a senior made a bad decision are great.
This period of 90 days allows the senior to correct their mistake and choose a different plan. The reasons to change are many and among them are Doctor leaves your plan; a medication you need is removed from the formulary; a hospital leaves the network or you just don’t like the plan.
This additional time for seniors to make changes to medical plans increases the 53 days a year to 143 days or allowing seniors 37% more time to make changes.
If you are a senior who doesn’t like their current MAPD plan use this time to do some research before changing. A Medicare broker with knowledge of the Nevada Marketplace is a good start but you can also do the research yourself. Start with the book “You and Medicare 2019” which is published each year by CMS and sent to all seniors. This booklet shows all the plans available in Nevada and gives you information on how to find out more about a specific insurance carrier.
Remember, this is the last change you can make during the year until next year’s annual election period so you are stuck with your decision for the remainder of 2019.